PGA Golf

PGA News Wire
  • Justin Thomas on LIV's rankings gripe: 'It's their fault'
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 20, 2022

    Justin Thomas understands why LIV Golf players are fighting hard to receive world rankings points for their events, but he strongly disagrees with their stance.

    • LIV sent a letter to the chairman of the Official World Golf Ranking organization urging that players receive points for playing in the breakaway tour's events. The series even wants points to be retroactive to include the five events already staged.

      "I don't understand," Thomas said when asked about LIV's petition at the Presidents Cup on Tuesday. "It's very obvious and written right there in front of them. They just naturally want what's best for them, just like the decision they made to go there."

      Thomas is currently ranked seventh in the world and has twice reached No. 1. The top-ranked LIV player is No. 3 Cameron Smith, who didn't leave for the Saudi-backed league until after the Tour Championship. Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson has slid all the way to No. 23 and Brooks Koepka is 29th.

      If LIV does not convince the OWGR board to include the series, its players will continue to plummet down the World Ranking, making it increasingly difficult to qualify for major championships.

      "Hey, if I was doing the same situation, I would want it, but that doesn't necessarily make it right," Thomas said. "The governing bodies have created a system for a reason, and that's to try to create the best system possible to determine the best players in the world.

      "Is it going to be skewed because some of the top players aren't going to be in there? Yes. But that's their own fault for making the decision they made, and they knew very, very well going into it there's a good chance they won't have World Ranking points, and they took that risk.

      "In my opinion, that's their own fault."

      Billy Horschel will make his Presidents Cup debut this week on the United States team along with Thomas. He agreed that the LIV series currently fails to meet most of the OWGR criteria and therefore should not be included in the rankings system until it does.

      "They knew when they signed that contract and took all that money what could come in the future for them," Horschel said. "They had to weigh those decisions and what the outcome could be by going there and the things they may not get in the future. They made that decision to sign the contract and take the money."

      Some of their U.S. teammates this week took a more measured response.

      World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler called the situation to gauge the rankings argument of 54-hole events with invitational fields and no cuts "challenging," but otherwise steered clear of the debate.

      Max Homa, who will also be making his Presidents Cup debut this week, said the decision is ultimately up to the OWGR and not people's opinions, but added that he would not have a problem with LIV players receiving world rankings points.

      "To my eye, it seems like they should get World Ranking points," he said. "It seems like if 48 great golfers play in tournaments, week in and week out, to my eye, (they) should get points. But there is a criteria.

      "That's how the world works."

      --Field Level Media

  • Davis Love III: LIV players not missed at Presidents Cup -- even D.J.
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 20, 2022

    Captain Davis Love III was blunt when asked whether supporting the PGA Tour was more important than having the 12 best players on the United States roster at this week's Presidents Cup.

    • "We have both," Love said.

      It was among the bevy of questions related to LIV Golf asked of Love and International team captain Trevor Immelman during Tuesday's opening press conference -- although the Saudi-backed breakaway league was never referred to by name.

      Love has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the PGA Tour -- and critics of LIV Golf -- over the past several months. However, he insisted that Dustin Johnson, two-time major champion and former World No. 1 who is one of LIV's marquee signings, would have taken the spot of a player in better form had he been available for the Presidents Cup.

      "On current form back a couple of months ago, Dustin would have been a (captain's) pick from wherever he was in points -- pretty far down. But he would have been a veteran pick," Love said when specifically asked about Johnson. "Obviously, he was the hero of the (Ryder Cup) team at Whistling Straits. He was a great partner for (Collin) Morikawa.

      "So, yes, we miss him. But I think, on points, we've pretty much got the guys we wanted to get. We would have had to make a spot for him as a pick further down, unless he got on a huge roll in the FedEx Cup," Love added. "There's no talk in our team room about anybody missing."

      The quality of the competition has been a primary topic this week. The United States has an 11-1-1 record in the event and Immelman's roster includes eight rookies. He is without the likes of Australia's Cameron Smith and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, who have joined LIV.

      Immelman said it was made very clear to those players ahead of time that signing with LIV would mean losing out on playing in the Presidents Cup.

      "Every single player that ended up going, and not going, knew what the situation was. It was part of the decision-making process for all of them," he said. "Am I disappointed they're not able to be here? Yeah, absolutely. But we have the 12 guys here that we love and that wanted to be here. And now we get to go.

      "We're looking forward."

      Both captains took veiled shots at LIV Golf during the 45-minute session.

      Asked about being the huge favorite this week, Love said, "It doesn't really matter who the favorite is in match play. That's why in the regular season (on the PGA Tour) we only play it once, because you never know what's going to happen."

      The LIV Golf format consists of four-man teams competing in 54-hole, no-cut events with shotgun starts.

      Immelman said it was like "Christmas morning" for his eight rookies, who get to spend the week in the team room with former major champions Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama.

      "Our team is a team that plays by the rules," Immelman said. "We're a team of our word, a team of honor. And so, that's where we're at."

      Love closed his portion of the media session by addressing one of the biggest talking points in the battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. Multiple players who have made the move to LIV have said part of their decision was to help grow the game of golf.

      "There is a little bit of tension and strife in the game right now," Love acknowledged. "But not amongst the golf organizations. They're working hard to do everything to grow the game. We need to take the momentum from the pandemic, and everyone getting outside and there's no tee times and not enough golf balls. We need to take that momentum and continue to grow the game. And that's what the PGA Tour does.

      "Nobody else does it better than the PGA Tour."

      --Field Level Media

  • LIV golfers urge inclusion in world ranking points
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 20, 2022

    LIV Golf Series golfers sent a letter to the chairman of the Official World Golf Ranking organization to urge their inclusion in the points ranking system.

    • The letter, sent to the media on Tuesday, was signed by the 48 players who played in the LIV Invitational Chicago this past weekend. The tournament was won by Cameron Smith of Australia, who was the No. 2 player in the world playing on the PGA Tour before jumping to the upstart circuit. He has fallen to No. 3 despite his success on the LIV circuit because he is unable to earn points.

      "To maintain trust, we urge you -- as one of the true statesmen of sports -- to act appropriately to include, on a retroactive basis, the results of LIV Golf events in OWGR's ranking calculations," the players wrote in the letter. "An OWGR without LIV would be incomplete and inaccurate, the equivalent of leaving the Big 10 or the SEC out of the U.S. college football rankings, or leaving Belgium, Argentina, and England out of the FIFA rankings."

      To date, LIV players have not received ranking points for the first five tournaments staged by the breakaway tour

      "Some 23 tours are integrated into the OWGR universe, and LIV has earned its place among them," the letter said. "LIV's roster includes 21 of the last 51 winners of the four Majors. The level of competition at the average LIV event is at least equal to that at the average PGA Tour event. We know because we've played in both. Every week that passes without the inclusion of LIV athletes undermines the historical value of OWGR."

      At issue is that OWGR standings are used to determine exemptions for golf's four major championships and to qualify for the Olympics.

      The OWGR board began consideration of LIV's application for inclusion in a meeting that took place at The Open in St. Andrews in July.

      However, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley are among the OWGR board members.

      "The case for LIV's inclusion is strong, but we have concerns that members of your Governing Board are conflicted and are keeping the OWGR from acting as it should," LIV golfers wrote in the letter. "Four of the eight members have connections to the PGA Tour, which unfortunately views LIV Golf as an antagonist. Other members of the Board have made unfairly harsh remarks about LIV, with one of them calling the organization 'not credible.'"

      Billy Horschel, who is competing for the United States at this week's Presidents Cup, said he was aware of the letter sent by LIV Golf.

      "All of those guys knew, when they left the PGA Tour, there was a good chance they may not get World Ranking Points anymore," Horschel said. "Unfortunately, they were told that they were going to get World Ranking Points by their colleagues.

      "That's what they feel, based off of Greg Norman and the people over there, feel like they should get World Ranking Points right away. That's not going to happen. That's not the process in place. And for Greg to continue to attack Jay Monahan, Keith Pelley, and say there's a bias in place for not awarding them World Ranking Points, just follow the rules. They don't meet the criteria right now based off their Tour to be awarded World Ranking Points.

      "They knew when they signed that contract and took all that money what could come in the future for them. As I said in the beginning, they had to weigh those decisions and what the outcome could be by going there and the things they may not get in the future. They made that decision to sign the contract and take the money."

      --Field Level Media

  • Greg Norman going before D.C. lawmakers to defend LIV
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 19, 2022

    LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman heads to Capitol Hill later this week where he is scheduled to sit down with lawmakers in an attempt to improve the company's public image.

    • The LIV Golf Invitational Series launched earlier this year and has remained in the news for the legal battle with the PGA Tour and criticism it continues to receive for its use of Saudi financing.

      "LIV Golf is coming to the Hill this week to meet with lawmakers from both parties," LIV spokesperson Jonathan Grella said in a statement to Politico and other outlets. "Given the PGA Tour's attempts to stifle our progress in reimagining the game, we think it's imperative to educate members on LIV's business model and counter the Tour's anti-competitive efforts."

      Lawyers for LIV Golf and several of its players have accused the PGA Tour in a federal antitrust lawsuit of improperly suspending members for their involvement in LIV. Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among the players involved in the lawsuit, though Mickelson recently said he might opt to remove his name from the lawsuit.

      LIV has been intertwined with political issues from the very start, with Mickelson admitting to author Alan Shipnuck in February that Saudi Arabia -- whose Public Investment Fund is financing the big-money LIV tour -- were "scary m--------s" with a bad human rights record. The Saudi ties have also caught the attention of Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

      "My problem is, you have a billion dollars of Saudi money coming in and essentially buying off some of the participants in the PGA Tour with a direct goal of essentially breaking the back of the Tour," U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) told the Wall Street Journal in July.

      Former President Donald Trump has supported LIV in its attempts to rival the PGA Tour. Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey hosted LIV's third event and Trump Doral in Miami will host the season finale.

      The Department of Justice also opened a probe into the PGA Tour this year, investigating whether it is trying to act as an illegal monopoly.

      --Field Level Media

  • Trio tied for lead at Portland Classic
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, September 17, 2022

    Lilia Vu, Andrea Lee and Ayaka Furue are tied atop the leaderboard after third-round action Saturday at the AmazingCre Portland Classic in Portland, Ore.

    • The trio sits at 13-under-par 203 and are being stalked by another four golfers one-shot back at 12 under at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

      Vu, the co-leader after 36 holes, fired a 69 while Lee and Furue of Japan carded matching 67s.

      Hannah Green (68), Hinako Shibuno (66), Daniela Darquea (68) and Paula Reto (67) are tied for second place. Second round co-leader Esther Henseleit (71) and Ryann O'Toole (67) are just two shots back at 11 under in a tie for eighth.

      Lee and Furue played their way into a tie for first on moving day.

      Lee nearly posted a clean round but bogeyed No. 15 to go with six birdies. Meanwhile, Furue did record a bogey-free round, finishing with five birdies.

      "It's very important to play bogey-free golf," Furue said. "I believe it's more important than getting birdies, not having bogeys. So I'm very happy with that today."

      Lee got off to a fast start, opening with a birdie to finish with three on the front nine.

      "I think this week so far I've been playing the front nine pretty well. Just birdieing one of the par 5s each day and just getting pars and making the putts that I can," Lee said. "A lot of the girls are just dropping bombs and making so many birdies out there. I think the par 5s, you definitely need to take advantage of those to go low."

      Vu, on the other hand, opened with a bogey and carded two on the front nine. But she rebounded with four birdies, coming in to finish with five total.

      "This course demands a lot off the tee, and I just wasn't feeling good," Vu said. "My back has been hurting. I'm actually going to go see the physio after this. Just trying to stay patient with my back and then also not get too frantic when I'm not hitting fairways."

      Carlota Ciganda (71), Caroline Inglis (69), Frida Kinhult (65) and Maja Stark (70) are also within striking distance of the lead in a tie for 10th, three shots back. Kinhult vaulted 29 spots up the leaderboard with the low round of the day.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former top amateur David Puig: ‘Pretty easy decision to join LIV’
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 16, 2022

    Until recently, the best amateur golfers in the college ranks were hoping and dreaming to reach the PGA Tour one day.

    • But David Puig wasn't swayed by the history of the PGA, saying Thursday it was a "pretty easy decision" to join LIV Golf when he turned pro earlier this month.

      Puig, a native of Spain, played at Arizona State and was the ninth-ranked amateur golfer in the world when he chose to turn pro. He played in two of LIV's first three events -- London and Bedminster, N.J. -- before turning pro.

      Puig was asked ahead of this week's LIV Golf Invitational Chicago why now was the right time for him to turn pro and choose LIV over the PGA.

      "Why now? You know, I actually think I had a pretty good amateur career, and I didn't get a lot of -- or basically just one opportunities to play with pros before LIV even started," Puig said. "LIV was very supportive, and they gave me two exemptions as an amateur, which I really appreciated them a lot. They also gave me an opportunity to play against the best players in the world, so it was obviously a tough decision to leave ASU, but it was a pretty easy decision to join LIV."

      Asked if he had ever applied for an exemption to play the PGA Tour's Waste Management Phoenix Open while at nearby Arizona State, Puig said he hadn't tried.

      "Not really," Puig said. "At least for what I know, getting into the Phoenix Open is pretty tough, especially when a guy is from Spain. ... Being from Spain, I would say it's just pretty tough because I would say they'd rather give the exemptions to people that are local."

      To that end, Puig has found Spanish-speaking mentors at LIV as the controversial organization continues to sign golfers from around the world. Countryman Sergio Garcia gave him advice, and the captain of Puig's team, Torque, is Chile's Joaquin Niemann, the No. 20 player in the world.

      Puig did not discuss the hefty signing bonuses LIV has handed out, nor where the money comes from. The Saudi Investment Fund finances the tour, which has led to widespread criticism of "sportswashing" its image.

      "Here in LIV they take care of you really good, which is awesome, and then the courses we play, they're really good, too," Puig said. "I played two courses and now this one, Rich Harvest Farms. All of the three courses were really good, so that is also helpful.

      "And then the players. We started in London with a pretty good amount of really good players, and every day it's growing. Now the field we have here at LIV is crazy, and it's really good."

      --Field Level Media

  • Bryson DeChambeau: LIV ban 'hurting' Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 16, 2022

    The Presidents Cup will tee off next week without some of the biggest names in American golf in the field, and Bryson DeChambeau thinks that wrong.

    • DeChambeau and others who signed on with the upstart LIV Golf Series are ineligible to play in the competition, which pits Team USA against a team of international players. The PGA Tour indefinitely suspended all players who have joined LIV from the tour as well as events such as the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup.

      "I personally think that the team events are only hurting themselves by not allowing us to play, not allowing us to qualify through some capacity, in some facet," DeChambeau said ahead of the LIV-sponsored Chicago Invitational, which began Friday.

      DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson all took part in the United States' Ryder Cup win in Wisconsin last fall but will be ineligible in 2023.

      Play in the Presidents Cup begins Thursday at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. DeChambeau said he will be watching.

      "I'm a golf fan, first and foremost," he said. "I'm going to watch golf wherever it's played with some of the best players in the world, whoever it is."

      DeChambeau, 28, has won eight PGA Tour events, including the 2020 U.S. Open. He doesn't want his PGA Tour career to be over, however, and he is among the LIV golfers who have filed an antitrust suit against the tour.

      "I want to play in numerous events on the PGA Tour. It would be awesome," he said. "That's what LIV Golf has tried to do -- they have allowed us to play on the PGA Tour. It's the PGA Tour barring us from doing so."

      In an interview in July, DeChambeau said he signed with the Saudi-backed LIV for more than $125 million through the end of 2026. He has career earnings of $26.7 million on the PGA Tour.

      --Field Level Media

  • Phil Mickelson considering taking name off LIV suit against PGA Tour
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 15, 2022

    Phil Mickelson said it's no longer "necessary" to be attached to an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour and he has yet to decide whether he'll stick with it or remove his name.

    • Speaking to reporters at Rich Harvest Farms ahead of this weekend's LIV Golf Invitational Chicago, Mickelson expressed his confidence in the suit now that the LIV Golf entity has joined its players in it.

      "Now that LIV is involved, it's not necessary for me to be involved," Mickelson said. "I currently still am. I don't know what I'm going to do, really.

      "The only reason for me to stay in is (monetary) damages, which I don't really want or need anything. I do think it's important that the players have the right to play when and where they want, when and where they qualify for. And now that LIV is a part of it, that will be accomplished if and when they win."

      Eleven members of LIV Golf originally came together to bring the suit against the PGA Tour in August. They sought to challenge their suspension from the PGA Tour for participating in the first LIV event without the tour's consent.

      Since then, Jason Kokrak, Pat Perez and Mexico's Carlos Ortiz and Abraham Ancer dropped out of the lawsuit.

      If Mickelson also drops out, it would leave Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, Peter Uihlein, Matt Jones of Australia and England's Ian Poulter as the remaining plaintiffs, along with LIV Golf itself.

      "Banning Plaintiffs and other top professional golfers from its own events degrades the Tour's strength of field and diminishes the quality of the product that it offers to golf fans by depriving them from seeing many top golfers participate in Tour events," the lawsuit argues. "The only conceivable benefit to the Tour from degrading its own product in this manner is the destruction of competition. Indeed, the Tour has conceded its nakedly anticompetitive purpose in attacking and injuring the players."

      Mickelson is no longer interested in returning to the PGA Tour, saying at the previous LIV event in the Boston area that he has "moved on" and trying to build LIV into a world-class golf league.

      --Field Level Media

  • Greg Norman: PGA Tour trying to ‘destroy’ LIV
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 15, 2022

    LIV Golf Series CEO and commissioner Greg Norman said he's not interested in a truce with the PGA Tour, which he accused of trying to destroy the upstart series.

    • Norman made the comments in an interview with The Australian this week.

      "This notion we're trying to destroy tours is not true. The PGA Tour is trying to destroy us, it's as simple as that," Norman told The Australian.

      Further, Norman said he's done with outreach efforts with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan after being rebuffed several times.

      "We have no interest in sitting down with them, to be honest with you, because our product is working," Norman said in the interview.

      Financially backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, LIV has lured more than two dozen players from the PGA Tour, including Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

      Norman said Wednesday that there's wide interest in LIV's television rights.

      "We're talking to four different networks -- and live conversations where offers are being put on the table," Norman told ESPN 1000 Chicago. "Because (the networks) can see the value of our product, they can see what we're delivering."

      On Thursday, however, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple and Amazon -- which have jumped into the sports business with rights to stream MLB and NFL games, respectively -- both said they are not interested in streaming LIV play.

      LIV will hold its fifth event of its inaugural season this week near Chicago.

      --Field Level Media

  • 2022 Fortinet Championship: Preview, Odds & Best Bets
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 14, 2022

    The PGA Tour returns from a two-week break following the Tour Championship to kick off the 2022-23 season with the Fortinet Championship.

    • The event begins Thursday on the North Course of the Silverado Resort in Napa, Calif. This is the final time it serves as the start of the "wraparound" schedule as the PGA Tour returns to a calendar-based season in 2024.

      FORTINET CHAMPIONSHIP

      Location: Napa, Calif., Sept. 15-18

      Course: Silverado Resort and Spa, North Course (Par 72, 7,123 yards)

      Purse: $8M (Winner: $1.44M)

      Defending Champion: Max Homa

      FedEx Cup leader: First Event

      HOW TO FOLLOW

      TV: Thursday-Sunday, 6-9 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

      Streaming: Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (ESPN+)

      Twitter: @FortinetChamp

      NOTES

      --As part of sweeping changes being steadily implemented by the PGA Tour, the top 70 players after the Wyndham Championship will qualify for the playoffs, with the top 125 not being finalized until the end of 2023.

      --Rickie Fowler is in the field for the first time since 2010 as he returns to action following a recent change in swing coaches. He has moved from +12500 to +10000 at BetMGM, where Fowler has been backed by 2.5 percent of the winning bets and 1.2 percent of the handle.

      --Homa is the lone United States team member in the field who will participate in next week's Presidents Cup. Four International Team members are playing this week: Corey Conners (Canada), Cam Davis (Australia), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) and Taylor Pendrith (Canada).

      --All but one of the 28 PGA Tour rookies are in the field this week. Justin Suh, who topped the combined Points List on the Korn Ferry Tour, is fully exempt this season.

      --Zac Blair and Kyle Stanley are each playing their first event on major medical extensions.

      BEST BETS

      --Matsuyama (+1400 at BetMGM) is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 16 and finished T6 last year. He returns to action after finishing tied for 11th at the Tour Championship. Matsuyama is fourth at the sportsbook, having drawn 5.7 percent of the bets along with 4.3 percent of the handle.

      --Homa (T5 at the Tour Championship), Tom Hoge (10th), Conners (26th) and Sahith Theegala (28th) all return to action as well. They have also been among the most popular players at BetMGM, with Theegala the biggest liability with 9.0 percent of the bets and 14.4 percent of the handle at +2800. Homa is the third biggest liability while being backed by 7.2 and 10.7 percent of the action, respectively. Conners is being offered at +1600 and Hoge at +4000.

      --Maverick McNealy (+2500) finished second by a single shot last year and went on to reach the second leg of the playoffs. He is the sportsbook's second biggest liability this week with 5.8 percent of the bets and 7.7 percent of the handle backing him.

      --J.J. Spaun has been one of the most popular longshot picks, garnering 1.9 and 2.5 percent of the action as his odds have shortened from +10000 to +8000. Spaun finished T8 at the Rocket Mortgage classic over the summer on his way to reaching the second leg of the playoffs, where he tied for 23rd at the BMW Championship.

      --Field Level Media

  • Sophia Popov (shoulder) to miss remainder of 2022 season
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 14, 2022

    Germany's Sophia Popov, the 2020 AIG Women's Open champion, will miss the remainder of the 2022 LPGA season with a shoulder injury.

    • Popov, 29, had been dealing with shoulder issues since the spring, with an MRI in August confirming an injury to a tendon in her rotator cuff.

      At Royal Troon in the 2020 Women's Open, Popov pulled off a major upset with a two-stroke victory. She was ranked No. 304 in the world at the time of her victory, which remains her lone triumph on the LPGA Tour.

      Popov, who was born in the United States and moved to Germany at the age of 4, represented Europe in the 2021 Solheim Cup. She also attended Southern California and won the 2010 International European Ladies Amateur Championship before turning professional in 2014.

      A member of USC's 2013 national championship team, Popov has $661,832 in career earnings and currently is ranked No. 121 in the world.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rory McIlroy: European Ryder Cup team 'in need of rebuild'
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 14, 2022

    Rory McIlroy on Wednesday reiterated his stance against having LIV Golf players compete on Team Europe at next year's Ryder Cup.

    • "I have said it once, I've said it a hundred times: I don't think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team," McIlroy said.

      McIlroy's comments came as several of Europe's top players prepare to compete in the Italian Open on the Marco Simone course outside Rome that will host the 2023 Ryder Cup. U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrell Hatton of England as well as Viktor Hovland of Norway will participate in the Italian Open.

      While Team Europe could receive a facelift due to the uncertainty surrounding players who had defected to LIV Golf, McIlroy doesn't see that as much of an issue.

      "I think we were in need of a rebuild, anyway," McIlroy said. "It was sort of, we did well with the same guys for a very long time, but everything comes to an end at some point. I think Whistling Straits is a good sort of demarcation, I guess.

      "That's all behind us. We have got a core group of guys, but let's build on that again, and instead of filling those three or four spots with older veterans, let's blood some rookies and let's get them in and build toward the future. I think that's important."

      Fitzpatrick, however, is taking a more neutral view on LIV golfers playing for Team Europe.

      "I said it last week, and I just want to win The Ryder Cup, so in my opinion, I want to be part of the team myself but I want the 11 best guys we can get," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm not really too bothered about where they are going to come from. I just want to make sure that we win and I think that's what's most important. I know other guys might not necessarily agree with that but I know the winning feeling is worth more than any sort of arguments you might have with other players."

      --Field Level Media

  • World No. 1 Jin Young Ko (wrist) out until late October
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 13, 2022

    World No. 1 Jin Young Ko will not participate in this week's Portland Classic due to a nagging wrist injury.

    • Ko won the event in 2021 but will not have the opportunity to win back-to-back titles. Ko's representatives announced Tuesday that she would pass on the next several tournaments to rest the wrist.

      "According to her management, Jin Young is sitting out the next few weeks under medical advisement for an overworked wrist," an LPGA statement read. "She hopes to return at the BMW Ladies Championship."

      Ko is currently undergoing medical treatments on her wrist that were recommended by her doctor, Golfweek reported. The BMW Ladies Championship is scheduled for Oct. 20-23 in her native South Korea.

      The timeline means she also will miss the Ascendent LPGA event Sept. 29-Oct. 2, where she is also the reigning champion.

      The same injury plagued Ko last season. Prior to last year's CME Group Tour Championship, Ko struggled to warm up before any of her rounds due to wrist pain. She wasn't taking full swings with clubs beyond the 52-degree wedge.

      Ko, 27, missed the cut in her last two outings. She has one win this year, finishing atop the leaderboard at the HSBC Women's World Championship.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: LIV Golf finale to feature record $50 million purse
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 13, 2022

    When LIV Golf holds its season-ending Team Championship next month, a prize purse of $50 million will be up for grabs, the richest purse in golf history, ESPN reported Tuesday.

    • The LIV Golf Team Championship will be contested Oct. 27-30 at Trump National Doral outside Miami. Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund finances the upstart tour that's peeled away dozens of players from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

      Golf Magazine and ESPN also reported previously unknown details about the team championship's format, which could feature a closest-to-the-pin contest.

      LIV Golf's rules and regulations were released by a U.S. District Court in California amid the group's antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. The Team Championship's description was initially redacted before being released Tuesday.

      "The Team Series Championship will be played over four days as a match-play head-to-head knock-out playoff, with the winning Team crowned as the ‘Team Series Champion,'" one passage says. "Each team will be ranked and seeded one (1) through twelve (12) for competition in the Team Series Championship based on a shootout undertaken immediately following the Player Draft preceding the Team Series Championship, with each Team Captain having one (1) shot to hit toward a target in a ‘nearest the pin'-style shootout."

      The winning four-man team would win $16 million, or $4 million per player. The second-place team would win $10 million, with $8 million going to third, $4 million to fourth, $2 million for Nos. 5-8 and $1 million for ninth through 12th, meaning even a golfer on the last-place team would be guaranteed to take home $250,000.

      According to ESPN, a LIV spokesperson said details were not yet finalized and the format would be announced at a later date.

      --Field Level Media

  • Annika Sorenstam to host Tampa-area LPGA Tour stop
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 13, 2022

    Annika Sorenstam will host a rebranded LPGA Tour event in the Tampa Bay area in November 2023.

    • The official title for the tournament at Pelican Golf Club is a mouthful: THE ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican.

      "It is an incredible honor to host one of the premier events on the LPGA Tour schedule at Pelican Golf Club," Sorenstam said. "... Giving back to the game I love and mentoring the game's next generation of players have always been at the forefront of everything we do. I'm excited to kick off this great new partnership and elevate this tournament to new heights on the LPGA Tour."

      THE ANNIKA will be the penultimate event on the LPGA Tour calendar.

      The 2023 purse will be announced during the 2022 Pelican Women's Championship, scheduled for Nov. 10-13 at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla.

      Sorenstam, 51, won 72 titles on the LPGA Tour, including 10 major championships. She won a record eight Rolex Player of the Year awards and earned more than $22 million before her retirement in 2008.

      --Field Level Media

  • Top college player David Puig leaves Arizona State for LIV Golf
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 12, 2022

    One of the best players in college golf, David Puig, is jumping straight to the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

    • Puig, a native of Spain who was a two-time All-American at Arizona State, announced on social media Monday that he is turning pro.

      "Although it has probably been the hardest decision that I've ever made, I've decided to turn professional this week," Puig wrote. "However, I'm still an ASU student and plan to graduate in the next year. My base will be in Tempe, hopefully forever. What a great place to live and become a champion golfer!"

      Puig did not mention the controversial LIV Golf circuit by name, but he had already been announced as part of the field for this week's LIV Golf Invitational Chicago, a replacement for countryman Adrian Otaegui on Torque GC.

      In addition, the 20-year-old played in two LIV tournaments as an amateur. He finished 40th at the circuit's debut event outside London and 42nd in Bedminster, N.J. He was the ninth-ranked amateur in the world before turning pro.

      --Field Level Media

  • Sergio Garcia faces fine for pulling out BMW PGA
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 12, 2022

    Sergio Garcia faces a fine by the DP World Tour if he doesn't provide proof of an emergency or medical issue for withdrawing from the BMW PGA Championship on Saturday before the tournament's second round.

    • He shot a first-round 76 in the event, which was shortened to 54 holes following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday.

      On Saturday morning in the United States, television cameras caught him in Austin, Texas, where he was attending the football game between Texas and then-No. 1 Alabama. His wife, Angela Akins Garcia, played college golf at Texas.

      The Telegraph reported that, as of Monday, Garcia had yet to provide a reason for the withdrawal to officials at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, where the event was held. Garcia, 42, or his management company must provide a valid reason within three weeks, or Garcia will be fined.

      According to the DP World Tour rules handbook, a player may withdraw only for "emergency reasons or medical circumstances deemed reasonable by the tournament director."

      --Field Level Media

  • Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose pull out of BMW PGA Championship
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, September 10, 2022

    Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose withdrew from the BMW PGA Championship before Saturday's second round of the DP World Tour event.

    • The tournament was shortened to 54 holes following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. It is being played at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England.

      Rose, who shot a first-round 73, cited a back injury as his reason for pulling out of the event.

      Garcia didn't give a reason. However, he was captured by television cameras in Austin, Texas, where he joined Masters champion Scottie Scheffler on the sidelines before kickoff of Saturday's marquee game between Texas and No. 1 Alabama.

      Garcia has had issues with the DP World Tour this summer after joining the LIV Golf Series, threatening to quit the DP World Tour before backing off.

      Garcia is scheduled to play next week at the LIV event at Rich Harvest Farms near Chicago.

      --Field Level Media

  • Scottie Scheffler named 2022 PGA Tour Player of the Year
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, September 10, 2022

    World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler was named the 2022 PGA Tour Player of the Year on Saturday.

    • Scheffler led the PGA Tour with four victories on the season, including the Masters Tournament. That was the first win in a major championship for Scheffler, 26.

      The honor was voted on by PGA Tour members who played in at least 15 official FedExCup events during the 2021-22 season. He received 89 percent of the votes, besting the other two nominees, Rory McIlroy and Cameron Smith.

      "Congratulations to Scottie on his remarkable season and his unprecedented achievements," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a news release. "One of the highest compliments a player can receive is the endorsement from his peers, and the fact that Scottie's season was both dominant and consistent spoke volumes to the membership.

      "And as gratifying as it has been to see his development on the course over the last several years, we are equally thankful that Scottie has embraced the role as an ambassador of the PGA TOUR and the game of golf."

      Smith, winner of The Open Championship in 2022, recently departed for the LIV Golf Series.

      Scheffler, who played college golf for four years at Texas, was presented the Jack Nicklaus Award as the year's top player Saturday morning on ESPN's "College GameDay," which was in Austin, Texas, in advance of Saturday's game between the Longhorns and No. 1 Alabama.

      It's the latest trophy for Scheffler, who also was the Player of the Year on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019 and won the Arnold Palmer Award as PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2020. He is the first player to win all three awards since they were established in 1990.

      In addition to the Masters, Scheffler won the WM Phoenix Open, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play event in the 2021-22 season. He has 11 finishes in the Top 10 in 25 tournament appearances.

      For the season, he won $14.05 million, breaking the record set by Jordan Spieth, who won $12.03 million in the 2014-15 season.

      Scheffler moved into the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings on March 27 and has stayed there for 24 consecutive weeks.

      --Field Level Media

  • BMW PGA Championship cut to 54 holes after queen's death
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 9, 2022

    The BMW PGA Championship will resume Saturday as a 54-hole event out of respect for Britain's royal family.

    • Play at the DP World Tour's flagship event was halted Thursday following the death of Queen Elizabeth II at age 96.

      Players who were still on the course will finish their first rounds and everyone will play the second round on Saturday at Wentworth Club outside of London.

      "The Wentworth event will give players, caddies, staff, volunteers and spectators the opportunity to come together across the weekend, not only to express their condolences but also to celebrate the extraordinary life of Her Majesty," read a statement from the European tour.

      Flags at the course will fly at half-staff and black ribbons will be distributed to those in attendance. There will also be a two-minute moment of silence on Saturday.

      Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Andy Sullivan and Norway's Viktor Hovland were in the clubhouse with opening rounds of 8-under-par 64 before play was suspended. Another Englishman, Matthew Jordan, had completed a 7-under 65. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who won the PGA's Tour Championship in Atlanta last month, shot 68.

      Thirty players had yet to finish their rounds.

      --Field Level Media

  • BMW PGA Championship halts play after death of Queen Elizabeth II
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 8, 2022

    The death of Queen Elizabeth II Thursday led to the stoppage of play at the BMW PGA Championship at Surrey, England.

    • The flagship event on the DP World Tour was in the midst of the first round when play was halted. No golf will be played Friday, either, with the tournament able to resume Saturday at the earliest.

      The 96-year-old queen was Great Britain's longest-reigning monarch. She spent 70 years on the throne before her death at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

      Tournament video boards announced the news: "Play will be suspended until further notice following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II."

      Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Andy Sullivan and Norway's Viktor Hovland all were in the clubhouse with opening rounds of 8-under-par 64 before play was suspended. Another Englishman, Matthew Jordan, had completed a 7-under 65. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who won the PGA's Tour Championship in Atlanta last month, shot a 4-under 68.

      Thirty players had yet to finish their rounds.

      "Out of respect for Her Majesty and the Royal Family, play has been suspended at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club for the remainder of Thursday and flags at Wentworth Club will be lowered to half-mast," the tournament said in a statement. " ... Further updates on the resumption of play will be provided in due course. Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with the Royal Family at this time."

      The practice facility at Wentworth Club, located just outside London, also is expected to be closed through Friday.

      Other sporting events in the United Kingdom slated for Thursday and Friday were called off, including rugby matches, a stage of the Tour of Britain cycling competition and English Football League soccer.

      The Premier League did not announce plans for matches scheduled for the weekend.

      "The Premier League is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II," the Premier League said in a statement on social media. "Our thoughts and condolences are with The Royal Family and everyone around the world mourning the loss of Her Majesty."

      The NFL said it would hold a moment of silence to recognize the queen's passing before Thursday night's season-opening game between the Buffalo Bills and host Los Angeles Rams.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rory McIlroy: Bond with former Ryder Cup teammates gone
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 7, 2022

    Nothing can forge a bond between professional golfers like playing on a Ryder Cup team together, and it seems that nothing can shatter that bond like the current dispute between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour.

    • Rory McIlroy, a European Ryder Cup mainstay and the winner of last month's Tour Championship at Atlanta, said friendships with some former Ryder Cup teammates are nonexistent.

      "I wouldn't say I've got much of a relationship with them at the minute," McIlroy said, according to the BBC.

      Among the players McIlroy teamed with in recent Ryder Cup competition, five are now LIV Golf participants. He figures to cross paths with four of them at this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in England: Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Bernd Wiesberger.

      There are a total of 17 LIV Golf participants at this week's BMW PGA Championship.

      "They are here. They are playing the golf tournament. My opinion is they shouldn't be here, but again that's just my opinion," McIlroy said of the event on the DP World Tour.

      Unlike the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) is not prohibiting LIV Golf participants from competing in its events util a legal appeal is decided in February of next year.

      Other top players competing in the DP World Tour's flagship event this week who remained loyal to the PGA Tour are Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm.

      While LIV Golf plays 54-hole events, this week's event is set for 72 holes, like all PGA Tour and DP World Tour events. The stage could be set for McIlroy, ranked No. 3 in the world, to face off against an LIV Golf rival over the final 18 holes Sunday.

      "I'll be trying to win a golf tournament regardless," McIlroy said, unable to resist the opportunity to acknowledge one of the major competitive differences between the tours. "They are going to be pretty tired on Sunday. It will be the fourth day."

      Rahm, ranked No. 6 in the world, hopes that some good can come from of all the current animosity.

      "To an extent, I can see it as a positive for change, or change that was maybe needed because things haven't changed in a very long time in the world of golf and something needs to be done," Rahm said. "As bad as things are right now, I think give it enough time, we might look at it as a positive for them. I'm hoping; I'm hoping good comes with it."

      --Field Level Media

  • Jordan Spieth headlines U.S. captain's picks for Presidents Cup
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 7, 2022

    Presidents Cup veteran Jordan Spieth is among six players chosen by team captain Davis Love III on Wednesday to represent the United States at the 2022 event, to be held Sept. 20-25 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte.

    • Spieth, a three-time participant, will be joined by Kevin Kisner -- a U.S. team member in 2017 -- as a captain's pick along with four first-timers: Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young.

      Combined, Love's six captain's picks have 33 PGA Tour victories -- 13 of them from Spieth, who went 8-5-1 in his Presidents Cup appearances in 2013, 2015 and 2017. Amid a prolonged slump at the time, he was not selected for the 2019 U.S. team that won the event in Melbourne, Australia.

      Love said he'll be depending on Spieth for his experience.

      "This will be Jordan's fourth Presidents Cup appearance, which makes him easily the veteran member of a young team," Love said. "At age 29, he is mature beyond his years and will serve as a great mentor to some of our rookies, while also being one of the top players we'll count on to play well at Quail Hollow."

      The captain's picks will join the six automatic qualifiers in Charlotte to make up the U.S. team. Those six are Patrick Cantlay, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau.

      They'll be facing an International Team, captained by Trevor Immelman, consisting of Adam Scott and Cam Davis of Australia; Canadians Taylor Pendrith and Corey Conners; Hideki Matsuyama of Japan; Sungjae Im, Tom Kim, Si Woo Kim and K.H. Lee of South Korea; Mito Pereira of Chile; South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout; and Sebastian Munoz of Colombia.

      The Presidents Cup pits an international field against a team of Americans in a biennial competition that began in 1994. The International Team has won just once -- in 1998 in Melbourne. The teams tied in 2003.

      Players who have left the PGA Tour and established tours in other nations for the breakaway LIV Golf Series are not eligible to participate in the Presidents Cup.

      --Field Level Media

  • Billy Horschel on LIV players at BMW PGA Championship: ‘Hypocritical’
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 6, 2022

    Billy Horschel wants to understand why some members of the LIV Golf Invitational Series are playing this week's BMW PGA Championship, a flagship event on the DP World Tour.

    • The DP World Tour, previously known as the European Tour, has not outright banned LIV players from competing in its events like the PGA Tour has done.

      Horschel, an outspoken critic of the Saudi-backed LIV circuit, was peeved that some LIV players who had never previously played in Europe were on hand at Wentworth Club outside London.

      "Even though Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter have been stalwarts for the European Tour, I don't think those guys really should be here," Horschel said. "I honestly don't think that the American guys who haven't supported the PGA Tour should be here. Abraham Ancer (of Mexico), Talor Gooch, Jason Kokrak -- you've never played this tournament, you've never supported the DP World Tour. Why are you here?"

      According to Horschel, those players were only there to collect Official World Golf Ranking points. The OWGR has yet to begin awarding points for LIV events, though an application is still under consideration.

      "It's pretty hypocritical," Horschel said, "to come over here and play outside LIV when your big thing was to spend more time with family and want to play less golf."

      Horschel, an American, is the defending champion of the BMW PGA, where the total purse this week is $8 million.

      He was joined in his critique by Spaniard Jon Rahm, who explained that he understood the DP World Tour hasn't banned the likes of Poulter, Westwood and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia because unlike the PGA Tour, the European circuit still needs their star power.

      "I don't necessarily disagree too much with that," Rahm said. "What I do disagree with is some of the names that have never expressed any support toward the (DP World Tour), any interest, or the event, whatsoever, and to be giving those players an opportunity and take it from players who have dedicated themselves to the (DP World Tour), I think it's wrong."

      Rahm said it was wrong for players who had never competed in Europe could qualify ahead of Spain's Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, who has played 20 DP World Tour events this season and was the first player to miss the field.

      "I'm not going to name anybody, but the only reason they are here is for World Ranking points, hoping they can finish in the top 50 to then play certain majors," Rahm said. "It's clear as day. And if they are saying otherwise they are not fooling anybody, at least not me."

      --Field Level Media

  • Amid struggles, Rickie Fowler parts with swing coach
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 6, 2022

    Rickie Fowler has parted ways with swing coach John Tillery.

    • Tillery confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday that their partnership is over.

      "Man, I love the guy," Tillery told ESPN. "This job will punch you in the gut sometimes. As a coach, there's nothing better than watching your guys succeed, and nothing worse than watching them struggle. The X's and O's of what they need to do is the easy part, but getting it done can be a challenge sometimes, and we didn't get it done. I'm pulling for him and wish him nothing but the best."

      It's the latest change to Fowler's team. He switched caddies, too, splitting in August with Joe Skovron, who had been on the bag for Fowler since 2009 -- his entire pro career.

      Fowler, ranked 178th in the world, needs to do something to shake up his game.

      In 22 events in the 2021-22 season, he had one top 10 finish -- T3 at The CJ Cup @ Summit last October -- and three in the top 25. He missed nine cuts and earned $1.07 million.

      A five-time tour winner, the last win for Fowler, 33, came at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2019.

      Fowler reached his career-high ranking of No. 4 in the world on Feb. 8, 2016. He qualified for only one major in 2022 and tied for 23rd at the PGA Championship.

      --Field Level Media